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Episode 41: Legal Design

Watt Tieder Hoffar & Fitzgerald LLP in McLean, VA. Photo by Thomas McConnell.

IA Principal, Project Director, and Head of the Vertical Markets Group on Law Firm Design Erik Hodgetts highlights the current trends and challenges of legal design.

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Legal employees, similar to doctors, have lagged behind getting into the mainstream of typical business office trends. Attorneys are used to having their own offices as workspaces, while other business employees are following the trend of having an open, shared workspace.

One of the main challenges of creating a space for a law firm is designing around the windowed offices required by attorneys. Buildings often have limited windows so the designer or architect has to figure out the design for the windowed offices first and then map out the remaining space for the support staff, conference rooms, and common areas.

Over the years, offices for attorneys have gotten smaller, statuses have been untangled from the amount of workplace provided, and many law firms have done away with spaces like libraries for storing books and records. These changes are partially due to real estate cost pressures and advances in technologies.

Legal employees want a space that reflects their professionalism and gives them a certain level of comfort because they work long hours. 


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